Here's one from the annals of self-deprecating quasi-pronouns, found in a 1690 letter from Matsuo Bashō to his student/disciple Kameda Shōshun 亀田小春:

何処持参之芳翰落手、御無事之旨珍重ニ存候。類火之難御のがれ候よし、是又御仕合難申盡候。残生いまだ漂泊やまず、湖水のほとりに夏をいとひ候 [...]
I received your letter from Kasho [another disciple] and am delighted to hear that you are well. The news that you escaped harm in the recent fire, too, is a happiness inexpressible in words. As for my aged self, I am taking refuge from the summer on the shores of the lake [...]

Zansei 残生: literally "remaining life," and apparently originally used that way, before its meaning expanded to also include "old person" ("life have-just-a-little-bit-left-of-er"?), which was then available to refer to the self.

(Letter to Shōshun found on pp116-117 of Bashō Zenshū vol. 8 (ed. Hagino Kiyoshi and Kon Eizō, Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1964)

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This sounds oddly like a play on 小生, although I'm not even sure if the two words existed in the same era. What did people even normally call themselves in the 1690s?



It took me two minutes to figure out why this guy needs to bleach himself. It means 漂泊, of course.


Haven't you ever heard of the Nozarashi Kiko? Those bones in the field aren't going to just bleach themselves. (Thanks, fixed.)

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